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Government under fire as BMA organises health bill 'summit'

The BMA is organising a summit this week to discuss 'shared concerns and priorities' on the health bill with all the medical Royal colleges, in a move that will pile additional pressure on ministers during a difficult week for their NHS reforms.

 

The move comes as national newspapers report that the House of Commons Health Committee is set to deliver a damning verdict on the Government's Health and Social Care Bill, with a report due to be published this week concluding that the move to GP-led commissioning was undermining targets to cut NHS spending by £20 billion by 2014/15.

The BMA summit on Thursday has been described by some observers as potentially the ‘Arab spring for the NHS' and comes after the RCN and the Royal College of Midwives last week followed the BMA in formally opposing the health bill.

A BMA spokesperson told Pulse that not all the medical Royal Colleges had confirmed their attendance at the meeting, they hope it would provide a forum to ‘explore shared concerns and priorities'.

MPs from the Government's own side will also criticise the NHS reforms, according to a leaked draft report from the House of Commons Health Committee seen by the Observer newspaper.

The report by the panel of MPs – led by former Conservative health secretary Stephen Dorrell, is also understood to voice frustration that ministers have failed to grasp the importance of providing better care for elderly people within their communities, which it identifies as the greatest challenge facing the NHS.

It says many health trusts are simply cutting services rather than finding savings by innovation and greater efficiency, despite assurances from health secretary Andrew Lansley that this would not happen.

According to reports, the committee – which has a majority of Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs, will claim they have found ‘precious little evidence of the urgency which it believes this issue demands – on both quality and efficiency grounds'.

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